Less than a year ago, I was a young professional trying to make time for creative endeavors, including piano practice. I’d been playing piano on and off since starting lessons at age six.
Joanna M. Eng, Contributing Editor
If you’ve ever listened to a professional recording of a piece you’ve been working on for your piano lessons—say Yuja Wang playing Schumann’s The Smuggler—you’ve probably been struck by the obvious: she plays the piece way faster than you do. She plays some passages so fast you can barely process the notes and rhythms in order to see how you should practice.
At eight years old, Jennifer Castellano learned that she had perfect pitch—and found out that she needed hearing aids for a mild to moderate hearing loss in the middle frequencies, known as a “cookie-bite” loss.
What are the best apps for adult piano students and amateur pianists?
In this video, Ricker Choi is performing an excerpt of Liszt’s Totentanz during the final round at the 2010 Berlin International Piano Amateur Competition.
Most pianists have been tripped up by difficult rhythms at one point or another—such as counting a 16th-note rest in a Bach Invention, or trying to play triplets on one hand while maintaining eighth notes with the other.
Imagine you’re seated at your piano with sheet music. But as soon as you begin to play the first note in a measure, the entire measure is erased from the score. You’re forced to play what notes you remember and move on, whether you’ve made mistakes or not. This persistent score-eraser chases you until you finish the piece.
Do you ever wish you had all of your sheet music with you constantly so you could play anything, anytime, anywhere? Or perhaps you’re studying a long piece and find turning the pages mid-phrase to be cumbersome?
What strikes me first about the online music-learning app Meludia is that it doesn’t tell me precisely what to do. The six initial exercises are arranged in a circle so I’m not sure which one to start with—but the order doesn’t matter.
I’ll admit: I’m not very good at listening to classical music, even at a live concert. The only pieces I can usually fully appreciate at a classical piano concert are ones that are both short and already familiar to me (it helps if I’ve studied them)—and all this only applies if I can see the pianist’s individual fingers moving.
Sometimes I stop and ask myself, among the stacks of Chopin and Debussy and Bach and Beethoven (not to mention Scarlatti and Mussorgsky and Copland and Glass) I’ve been playing for most of my life, why every single one of the classical composers I’m familiar with is a man?
On a whim, I slipped a Joni Mitchell songbook into my tote bag along with my classical piano scores, before scrambling for my keys and rushing out the door for my session at the new music studio where I’ve been practicing once a week, since I don’t have a piano at home.
Pat Dobbs loves going to the opera, even though she can’t discern the melody from the other notes.
For Leya Evelyn, practicing the piano and painting are meditative experiences, each nourishing the other.
My knowledge of music from the 60s is limited, and I usually don’t have much patience for repetitive melodies, but you can count me as a new fan of Leonard Cohen and his most popular song, “Suzanne.”
The painter Annika Connor is a Contemporary Romantic, a term that is at once wholly new and yet wonderfully old-fashioned, reminiscent of Chopin, Liszt, and Schumann, members of the Romantic music movement in 19th century Europe.